Hazards

  • Microscopic asbestos fibers from friable (loose or crumbling) asbestos can be suspended in air and inhaled. Once inhaled, fibers remain in lungs, causing lung cancer.
  • Asbestos may be found in pipe insulation and insulating boards, textured wall surfaces, electrical equipment, floor and roofing tiles and certain adhesives.

Handling

  • If asbestos is in good condition, and fibers are not exposed, it does not need to be removed.
  • Slightly damaged or loose asbestos can be re-wrapped rather than removed.
  • Asbestos should be handled by a certified asbestos abatement contractor. Call the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards at 617-626-6960 or visit the DLS web site for a list of licensed abatement contractors.
  • MassDEP requires notification at least 10 business days prior to any asbestos removal activities.
  • All asbestos containing materials must be containerized, labeled and removed in accordance with MassDEP air quality and solid waste regulations. Asbestos must be adequately wetted so that fibers will not be released, and sealed in leak-tight, properly labeled containers. If bags are used, they should be thick plastic (6 mil) and double bagged. The same handling procedures are required for contaminated clothes and equipment. Container must then be labeled with an OSHA approved asbestos warning label. For additional information, see:
  • Do not dust, sweep or vacuum particles suspected of containing asbestos.

Management Options

  • One Massachusetts landfill is currently permitted to accept asbestos-containing wastes:

    Waste Management Fitchburg/Westminster Sanitary Landfill
    165 Fitchburg Road (Route 31)
    Westminster, MA 01473
    Telephone: 800-963-4776

  • Some out-of-state landfills and transfer stations are also permitted by their state’s environmental agencies to accept asbestos-containing wastes generated in Massachusetts. Two in bordering states are

    Waste Management Turnkey Landfill
    90 Rochester Neck Road
    Rochester, NH 03839
    Telephone: 800-963-4776

    RED Transfer & Logistics
    173 Pickering Street
    Portland, CT  06480
    Telephone: 860-342-1022

  • Before taking asbestos to a landfill or transfer station, contact the facility to determine if, when, and under what conditions the facility will accept asbestos. Asbestos abatement contractors who are licensed by the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards (DLS) can be hired to remove asbestos and take it to an approved disposal facility. Call the Massachusetts Department of Labor Standards at 617-626-6960 or visit the DLS web site for a list of licensed abatement contractors. Asbestos wastes may not be sent to a municipal solid waste combustion facility or to a construction and demolition (C&D) material processor.

  • Intact and unbroken vinyl asbestos tile (VAT) and asbestos containing asphaltic roofing and siding material that are removed in accordance with MassDEP regulations can be managed as “solid waste” and may be disposed of in any landfill permitted by MassDEP to accept solid waste.

For more information, see the Answers to Common Asbestos Questions or contact the MassDEP Regional Office for your community and ask to speak with an asbestos expert.